Hearing incredible stories from my clients is what keeps Hasta Cuba going. Reading this email was hands down one of the most powerful moments of Hasta Cuba history. I would love to thank Danny & her entire family for sharing this experience with Hasta Cuba!
Danny was one of the first people I spoke to about Hasta Cuba back in January. The trip was several months away but we had a lot of planning to do.
Danny was very busy with her dental practice and taking care of the kids so we struggled to keep up communication. Before either of us knew it the trip was around the corner and we did not have the specifics set yet. This group was special, having 3 generations on one program; 2 children and 2 grandmothers.
In just a few short weeks we managed to come up with a perfect package for the whole family!
Please take a moment to read the email that she shared after 10 days with Hasta Cuba!
ABOUT THE TRIP..
We had a blast! Though Robert and I had Traveled to Cuba years ago, and really enjoyed ourselves, there was a lot, in hindsight, we were not able to experience. (You don't know what you don't know, right? We were on a highly restrictive, government-sanctioned tour at the time, after all.) We knew that visiting Cuba again soon was an imperative, given the current political instability in our own country engendered by the capricious whims of the president, as well as imminent, transitional phase Cuba is poised to move through. The stakes were a bit higher, this go-round, however, since relatives would be traveling with us, at our invitation, to a place that otherwise may have been permanently sidelined.
With our kids in tow, and our moms and my brother invited, there was pressure on us to ensure that everyone had a safe, memorable, fun experience. YOU DELIVERED ALL OF THAT AND WAY, WAY MORE!!!
It's really taken some time to fully process how impactful our family trip to Cuba has been. We left feeling as though we'd had a truly immersive experience that still enabled exposure to some of the finest foods, music, natural settings the country had to offer. We DID so much; SAW so much; TOOK IN so much. There is no doubt, despite visiting innumerable countries over the years - from one end of the Mediterranean to the other, and throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the African continent - this was the most transformative trip we've ever made.
The restaurants you selected for us (LAMPARILLA, CHA CHA CHA, MONEDA CUBANA, ATELIER, LA FAMILIA, RESTAURANTE BARBARO, VARADERO 60, LA CALESA REAL, LATERAL) were absolutely phenomenal. Whether they were hi-end, or casual, the food offered at this multitude of establishments allowed for a broad representation and appreciation of the Cuban palate. We had a blast at the Tropicana, which as a cool throw back to a pre-Vegas entertainment heyday. Even street performers we encountered at various tour sites (like the Christ statue), or house musicians at various establishments, were a special treat. When we stumbled on to the venerable Buena Vista Social Club, only a couple of blocks away from our casa particular, we were over the moon. My brother had a blast being on stage with Cuban "O.G.s" - seasoned, polished and smooth performers who define classic cool.
We will remember for years to come, the many "ordinary people" on ground level who went about their daily lives around us - operating bici's, peddling fresh produce curbside, escorting kids to and from escuela primaria, hustling for tourists dollars, housekeeping, manning las maquinas de helados, cruising in vintage Chevy style. Our hearts were touched by the extraordinary, collective efforts of a determined, resilient people, as documented at both the Plaza and Museo de la Revolucion - with struggles paralleling the harsh realities my own family lived through as it emerged from the oppressive South.
Making it beyond the Havana Vieja city limits was priceless, as well, and allowed for the perfect balance needed to round out our trip. Whether we were zip-lining or waterfall diving at Las Terrazas, horseback riding, cave exploring or trying a handmade cigar in Vinales, or SCUBA diving in pristine, inviting waters of Varadero (amazing visbility!), we had so much fun.
We cannot say enough about Marilyn, Ismael, and Daniely - the family who saw to our every need at our casa particular. They really went out of their way to ensure our comfort and satisfaction with morning meals and afternoon, yummy, Cuban coffee. Most friendly, warm, and caring. When we needed a cab at the last minute to get to a show, or when my mother-in-law lost her camera, they were engaged and ready to help out. We were grateful for the use of their well-situated establishment. PERFECT for our family in so many ways, not to mention a great education for our kids, who tend to take their comfy lives/home/rooms for granted.
Lastly, there was our guide, Harold. In him, you and Andres have a phenomenal ambassador to el mundo Cubano. He was a superstar who struck the right notes throughout our entire trip, as he ushered us from one soul-stirring experience to the next. I personally loved that his architecture background afforded insights he was able to share about the residences, office buildings, and government agencies, and historical sites around the city. His impressive knowledge base extended well beyond Havana, and we really enjoyed broader, global perspectives offered that help to contextualize Cuban life. On top of everything else, he was super fun. Who knew he would really get into the pose down my son, brother, and husband challenged him to as we finished an afternoon of swimming while at the Las Terrazas?!?!?! (We let him know we would love to help welcome him to the Bay Area, should he (and Claudia) ever make it out this way. That was a real invitation!)
Without hesitation or equivocation, we are all in agreement that our vacation in Cuba was the very best our family has ever experienced. HASTA CUBA made that possible, and for that, we are eternally thankful. Your personal attention to every detail ensured our complete and total satisfaction with all aspects of the trip. Though words can't adequately express our gratitude, we hope this full-throated endorsement of your travel enterprise can make a difference.
Wishing you much continued success in your personal and professional pursuits,